Being a social scientist!
I could have well chosen to be an engineer. I had cracked IIT JEE in my first attempt and was offered a seat in IIT Kharagpur, 5 yrs integrated Applied Geology course and could have chosen any good course at top NITs. But i am currently studying Economics.
Since my childhood i had thirst for knowledge and had keen interest in science. Seeing those shows about black holes, Stephen Hawkins, Cryptography etc on Nat-Geo, Discovery always fascinated me and i then used to dream of being an astrophysicist or a molecular biologist but some kind of scientist or engineer for sure. I remember i used to steal chemicals from lab and do stuff with them at home ( getting beautiful colors of anions cations-qualitative analysis). Awards, strides and evidence i have more. STEM- Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics had all the lucrative opportunities and the scope growth seemed to be immense. Ocean of things to learn, to do. Further, working in the field of STEM has is own pride as well, for the challenges it offers and the rigorous and tough courses it has.
Now, when i am in the field of social science studying economics, politics, sociology, history, finance and management kind of stuffs and that i have all my life prior to it studied subjects related to STEM, i can give my opinion of being in both worlds.
The kind of importance and respect given to STEM compared to social science subjects is highly misplaced. Like Science is about understanding the natural world and then using this understanding to create, modify for the greater good; engineering and technology invents tools for the ease and progress of mankind; Social science is tries to understand society from individual human behaviors, to small social structures to countries and mankind as whole to the living beings. And NO! Social Science is NOT a subset of Science. It is and should be understood as a separate arena of study. While Science studies things in a very tangible quantitative manner, social science studies more qualitatively. There are no definite laws as in science. At this point i would also like to distinguish between scientific mode/way of study and science. By science i mean to say subjects which studies natural phenomenons, subjects like physics, chemistry, biology etc and by scientific mode of study i mean a mode of study that is based on reasons, rational and logical arguments. Hence, Social Science is as scientific as science subject itself is.
Studying Social Science is equally important as studying science and technology. Okay! try answering how would a science subject understand education, or social/economic inequality ? Why despite such immense progress of science and technology, people still die of hunger ? Why is it that the world is growing more unscientific ( at least the US president is! #climatechange )? Humans, societies and their institutions- all these have to be understood and worked upon. With unequal access to educations, we may be preventing future scientists from coming up. This reminds me that in fact the ideologies that shape us and our institutions around are scientifically studied and understood under the domain of social science.
All subjects that have been built on the basis of rational and logical reasoning are scientific inquiries. A mind with a scientific temperament can study and excel in any subject be it science, social science or otherwise. Studying subjects from various streams (social science, science) and disciplines in fact gives one a very holistic and complete way of looking at problems and hence solving them better.
Being a social scientist i now think about bring in social changes like quality accessible education for all and being versed in science i also look into things as the cutting edge genomic research in China to how quantum computing methods can replace the current cryptographic techniques. As a social scientist i link them to social outcomes. And so is being a social scientist- a crave for social change!